Archive for April, 2001

RoleplayingTips.com #72

Monday, April 30th, 2001

Proper use of names, by they for towns or for characters, is tackled in the latest issue of RoleplayingTips.com. There are also some ideas for speeding up combats, and several other useful tidbits.

Applying a Fresh Beatdown
Shadowfist.com has a new look to accompany the CCG’s latest expansion, Netherworld II: Back Through the Portals. The 145 card set has nearly 100 brand new cards, and promises to shake things up in the Secret War. Glad to see Z-Man Games keepin’ the dream alive. Keep it up, guys.

Nazis and Supertanks
The WWII miniatures game Gear Krieg, by Dream Pod 9, will soon have a role-playing counterpart. In this alternate history, technology took a slight detour into armored mecha, so who knows how the war will turn out? Brings back memories of the Nile Empire and good ole’ Doctor Moebius. Ah, Torg, we hardly knew ye…

Complete Caveman’s Club Book Preview

Sunday, April 29th, 2001

The gods of Wingnut have smiled upon us again. Here’s a taste of what you’ll be getting in the upcoming Land of Og supplement, The Complete Caveman’s Club Book. No, it’s not just a catalog of clubs – you get Smart Caveman Kits like this one:

PHILOSOPHICAL SMART CAVEMANClick to enlarge
Uses seemingly nonsensical and slow body motions to make the world conform to his expectations. Philosophical Smart Caveman becomes obsessed with solving a problem by stroking his chin constantly while looking down at the ground, then slowly lifting his head straight up in the sky. Becoming one with the surroundings, there are supposedly some earth shattering conclusions to be drawn.

ADVANTAGE Since it took Philosophical Smart Caveman such a large amount of time to come to a conclusion, it is only right that the end result is in comparable size. Once per day for every odd level, Philosophical Smart Caveman can either: double his percent chance to succeed a Figure Things Out%, or cut in half his Forget How To%. So, at level three, he could double his Figure Things Out% for two different instances, cut his Forget How To% in half twice, or one of each.

DISADVANTAGE All this brainpower can make a caveman tired. The brain cells have floated away (or maybe it was staring at the sun too long), but all this work puts a constant strain on his health and he receives a permanent “-1″ to his Health ability score.

Now how much would you pay? The Complete Caveman’s Club Book hits next month.

The Rod Torkelson Armada, Featuring Johnny Wonderchuck

Friday, April 27th, 2001

First Ren and Stimpy, now obscure Kids in the Hall references… someday, I will get 1992 out of my system. Anyway, FFG has announced a new game called, yes, Armada, a “customizable disk game” (evidently not collectible) set in the Twilight Imperium universe. This new stuff page has it coming out in May, which is cool. But there’s no news of a release date for the intriguing-sounding Tom Jolly project, Vortex. (Maybe Mr. Jolly will spill the beans for us, after we get those Drakon and Programmer’s Nightmare reviews up.)

Sack Armies Takes Precedence

Friday, April 27th, 2001

Precedence Studios has announced their new worldwide agreement to develop and publish Tyranny Games’ Sack Armies. The upcoming collectible wargame will have 120 hex shaped army tokens, and will be sold in 42 token starter sacks for $13.99 or 18 token booster sets for $4.95. From what I’ve seen of Sack Armies so far in the playtest, this game should be a real winner. Look for it to arrive in June.

Are Lost Worlds Truly Lost?

Friday, April 27th, 2001

Greysea LLC, the most recent publisher of the innovative Ace of Aces and Lost Worlds combat picture book games, recently sent out an e-mail announcing that the web sites devoted to the company and its two main products are no longer in service. No explanation of why this has happened was included, but such an event does not seem to bode well for fans of the games. All is not lost, however — Flying Buffalo is still occasionally producing Lost Worlds books (most recently basing them upon the Knights of the Dinner Table). The fate of the Ace of Aces air combat books seems more uncertain, however; hopefully Greysea’s recent “Anniversary Edition” won’t be their last gasp.

This Week in D20

Thursday, April 26th, 2001

There’s so much happening with D&D 3 and the D20 System, I’ll try to round up most of the news in one big summary. Consider this my attempt at a Chain Lightning spell. :-)

  • Atlas Games has posted a preview of Touched by the Gods, a hardcover sourcebook of all things divine. The preview hints at many of the new deities, domains, feats, prestige classes, spells, beasts, and items the book will contain.
  • Pinnacle has announced their Weird Wars D20 RPG will be out this July, much faster than I expected. Supernatural terror in WWII. Excellent.
  • Jim Butler’s new home, Bastion Press, is working on their first product, Minions: Favored Foes. The full-color, 220 page hardcover should arrive in December 2001.
  • Eden Studios is showing off the new cover art for the first three D20 products in their Odyssey line, Akrasia: Thief of Time, Wonders Out of Time, and Secrets of the Ancients. The first two should reach stores in late May/early June.
  • Kingdoms of Kalamar, the official D&D setting from Kenzer & Company, is in my hot little hands right now, and should be reaching yours this week.

I Told You I’d Shoot, But You Didn’t Believe Me!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2001

Whyyyy didn’t you believe me?! Just because that sad little “More to come!” has been sitting over in the Reviews box for a while… um… okay, then. But now it’s time to put on your happy helmet and heed Michael Suileabhain-Wilson’s review of Ars Magica: The Mysteries. Just how you like iiiit!

Fuzzy Fruit Takes Over

Tuesday, April 24th, 2001

Nightshift Games has posted an entertaining eight page pdf preview of the Supermegatopia RPG. The anime game may be mature in nature, but that won’t stop it from acting goofy as well. For example, the sheer amount of kiwi fruit in Supermegatopia outweighs the citizens thereof, and is used in everything from fuel to perfume.

A Taste of Angels. Honey-glazed. With Fries and a Coke
Another company with freebies is Visionary Games, which has a quickplay version of their Archangel RPG. The 35-page pdf file, called Miracles, takes players to 392 BC, when “the Almighty empowered great men and women and allowed angels to walk with men for the first time in history.” Sounds like there’s gonna be a rumble in Babylon tonight.

Feng Shui In Your Face

Tuesday, April 24th, 2001

The next supplement for Atlas Games’ Feng Shui RPG has shipped to distributors and should be on your local game store’s doorstep shortly. In Your Face Again has 128 pages packed with ten scenarios to challenge any participant in the Secret War.

Cavemen on the March

Monday, April 23rd, 2001

Cavemen are coming out for the spring thaw over at Wingnut Games. The Complete Caveman’s Club Book is being printed at this very moment, as is the second printing of Land of Og. You’ll need Land of Og to make proper use of the CCCB, but since each gives you 64 pages of prehistoric goodness for just under $10 apiece, you’d do well to check them out. Ogre recommends. You buy. Ug.

Game Swapping
RPG Host has a new game trading site up and running, RPG Swap. Buy, sell, or trade those excellent products now.

Lunar Empire For Sale
Embrace the Illuminated ways of the Lunar Empire (of Hero Wars and RuneQuest fame). Or, if you can’t make such a drastic lifestyle change right now, consider grabbing a copy of the offical map poster. Just reading the details makes me drool.

The map measures 59.4 cm x 70 cm (23.5 in x 27.5 in), printed in crisp, full colour on heavy, glossy 170gsm paper, produced from the high-resolution original. It really is a gorgeous and impressive piece of work, as suited for use in play as display on a wall or at a convention.

Go take a look, and order a copy, if you’d like.

Mystic Eye’s Love Fest

Sunday, April 22nd, 2001

Doug Herring at Mystic Eye Games let us know about the latest pair of nasty creatures available on their site. This set of monsters were created in answer to the following: “What types of foul beasts could be born of the nightmares of an unrequited or spurned love?” Aside from Rimmer’s lust monster, you’d have the Heart Breaker and the Black Lover, two horrific (and apparently lonely) beasts. This brings the grand total of free creatures at MEG to six, all as a prelude to the upcoming creature book, Nightmares & Dreams: A Creature Collection, and Mystic Eye’s new setting, The Hunt: Rise of Evil.

Australian Gamebook Invades the Internet

Saturday, April 21st, 2001

Andrew Chapman, the author of several classic Fighting Fantasy adventures (including Space Assassin and Seas of Blood), has just electronically published Invaders, a previously-unreleased gamebook originally written to be part of a short-lived Australian series. The book is being distributed free of charge as a 2.42 meg PDF file, and it’s best viewed with the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader, though good, old-fashioned Acrobat Reader also works. No matter how you read it, however, this book is yet another sign that the Internet is an exciting place for gamebook fans to be.

Vampire Man Heading Into Space

Thursday, April 19th, 2001

A few more tidbits for ya as a birthday gift (my birthday, not yours). Enjoy. :-)

In an interview over at Games Unplugged, Vampire creator Mark Rein*Hagen speaks briefly about the new game he’s working on with his new company, Atomoton. Called Zero-Gravity (Z-G), the new game is described as “an action-figure trading-card game that can and will morph into an RPG, an animated show, a video-game first-person shooter, a comic book, an Advanced Game Boy game, a novel series, and a secret society.” Whew! Sounds like it will require many trips to the game shop to play Z-G, but color me intrigued.

Observers of the Titles
With the latest class handbook for D&D 3, Defenders of the Faith, arriving in stores tomorrow, Priests and Paladins will be covered. After Defenders, the next handbook will be Tome and Blood (for Wizards and Sorcerers) in June, followed by Song and Silence (Bards and Thieves) in December. So what will the others be? Well, we don’t know when in 2002 they’ll be available yet, but Masters of the Wild (for Druids, Rangers and Barbarians) and Tooth and Claw (for playing humaniods, perhaps?) should be next.

Prize Alert. Prize Alert.
You Red Dwarf fans out there will appreciate that a Prize Alert is slightly less dangerous than a Purple Alert, but more serious than a Blue Alert. Err… sorry.

Head over to the competitions page at Fiction-Fantasy.net. Why? Well, I’ll let them tell you:

The Fiction & Fantasy Network are running a series of competitions, starting with two cool prizes. The first is a complete Warhammer: Vampire Counts army donated by CyberDungeon.com. The second is two signed copies of Junk from Dark Omen Games.

New Art at Green Ronin

Thursday, April 19th, 2001

Green Ronin has posted the cover art for Hell in Freeport. The 64-page adventure will be for character levels 8-11, and is written by WotC veterans Jim Bishop, Jess Lebow, and Paul Bazakas. Hell in Freeport should be available in July.

Sovereign Stone Goes D20

Wednesday, April 18th, 2001

In a surprising announcement, Don Perrin of Sovereign Press revealed plans to redo the Sovereign Stone RPG using the D20 System. Sovereign Stone has already seen the efforts of a number of former TSR “golden era” designers, as well as the efforts of Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and artist Larry Elmore. A press release addressed why the choice to convert was made.

The decision to abandon the current Sovereign Stone Role-Playing Game line lies simply in the numbers. We feel that the strength of our product line is in the world, and that world can be explored by so many more players under the d20 license. We will rewrite and reissue all of the current Sovereign Stone products with d20 information so that our fans can experience the rich world of Sovereign Stone with a great new system.

As a fan of the Sov Stone setting, I’ll be interested to see how gamers respond to the converted game. The new incarnation of Sovereign Stone is planned to release at GenCon 2001.

Creature Collection Corrections
If you’ve noticed a glitch or two in your copy of the Creature Collection, don’t worry, Swords & Sorcery has got you covered. They’ve just posted a new errata list that adjusts the Challenge Rating of many creatures and lists the climate/terrain for each beast as well. Since the Creature Collection made it out the door before the Monster Manual and didn’t have an example to follow, it’s only natural to see some minor tweaking now.

Iron Kingdoms Invade

Tuesday, April 17th, 2001

Privateer Press has been very active of late. Not only have they launched IronKingdoms.com in support of their D20 setting, but Privateer Press is also featured on RPGaction. Best of all, along with the Matt Staroscik interview and company profile, the complete D20 stats for steamjacks are presented. Can you say mecha combat for D&D 3? Me too.

Wounds Unlimited Reaches Its Limit
The stylish internet gaming zine Wounds Unlimited has called it quits. Sighting “problems in the Real World, both in the financial and personal side,” the site’s content has all been taken down, except for their coverage of GenCon 2000, which will stay up a while longer. Us Cave-dwellers bid the team at WU farewell, and wish them luck in their future projects.

Girl Genius in Stores. Stupid Boy Not Sighted

Monday, April 16th, 2001

The latest release from Cheapass Games has swarmed store shelves nationwide. Girl Genius: The Works is a card game based on a new comic book series by the enigmatic Phil Foglio. The game mechanics are similar to those used in an earlier joint effort from James Ernest and Phil Foglio, Xxxenophile, but without the adult artwork. The full-color 108 card packs sell for $14.95.

Two other Cheapass games, Unexploded Cow and Devil Bunny Hates the Earth, will both be released in the first week of May.

Children of Misguided Games

Monday, April 16th, 2001

Misguided Games has posted a new page on the races from their upcoming RPG, Children of the Sun. Due to arrive in Spring 2002, Children of the Sun is a dieselpunk fantasy setting that has already generated some interest at last month’s GAMA convention. Each month through the end of this year, Misguided Games will post info on another of the game’s races. The first race posted is the Avendera, “an enigmatic race of leonine beings that dwell in dark, underground regions.” Caves? Excellent. We ogres approve.

Frag Beta Capsule Review

Saturday, April 14th, 2001

In the PC gaming world, you have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on hardware and software to deathmatch effectively, and you have to sign NDAs up the wazoo to review a beta. In our world, a beta version of Frag cost us $12, and we don’t have to sign a damn thing to tell you what we think.

For those who missed the hype, Frag is designed to be a boardgame take on Quake, Doom, and their first-person-shooter ilk. The board is a grid spattered with weapons and gadget pick-up spots, walls, doors, and the occasional pool of acid. Each player’s pawn runs around shooting and getting shot, and “respawning” whenever it dies. There’s no penalty for dying a lot, apart from losing your stuff. The point here is not realistic combat; it’s realistic simulation of an unrealistic gaming genre.

Frag’s rules are just complicated enough to give you that old-timey boardgaming feel, without being so complex that you can’t tear through your turn like a skiing scout in Tribes. A turn-based board game can only take the simulation of a deathmatch so far, but generally, we found the mechanics to be fair and plausible in our two games. Shooting a rocket launcher felt about like shooting a rocket launcher in Marathon, for example. There’s a very healthy amount of luck in the actual mechanics of taking a shot at someone – most of the game’s real strategy probably lies in the card play. And that’s pretty random too. That’s not to say that there’s no tactical play on the board, though. Hell, we only played a couple of games, what do we know.

If we have a complaint, it’s that being the guy who keeps getting shot and never gets ahead is a little less fun when you slow deathmatching down to the pace of a boardgame. In Quake, you can at least crash around really fast, enjoy the graphics and scenery, and have a laugh even if you suck. We had a laugh when we sucked too, but something about having cards in your hand and having to wait your turn makes you feel a little more ripped off when you lose at the last second. But PC deathmatching is more of a sport than a game in many ways, and I suppose that’s the difference.

Steve Jackson Games has now sold out of the beta edition of Frag.

GAMA’s View of Chainmail

Friday, April 13th, 2001

I just realized it’s Friday the 13th. Let’s get on with the news before something goes wrong. :-)

A brief article on the Chainmail miniatures game preview at GAMA is on the WotC site. There isn’t much info, but reports are that everyone was enthusiastic. Our friend Chris Pramas, Creative Director for the Chainmail game, is shown in the pics, running demos for convention goers. We’re looking forward to October to see it ourselves.

Listen Up, Cyberpunks…
R. Talsorian’s 2001 product schedule lists a milestone looming in August: Cyberpunk V.3. The new edition will jump ahead twenty more years, placing us firmly in the Post Information Age. I may have to dust off my Solo, Edwardo, and jack in.

Avalanche of D20
Avalanche Press has two more D20 adventures following on the heels of their acclaimed Last Days of Constantinople. Ragnarok: Tales Of The Norse Gods will put players in the roles of lesser gods & goddesses from the Norse pantheon. Their quest: to stall the “Doom of the Gods” (otherwise known as Ragnarok). The Greenland Saga will be a historical adventure that involves “the disappearance of the Norse colony of Greenland.” Both adventures seem to be scheduled for June releases.

Mage Knight Lancers List

Friday, April 13th, 2001

WizKids has posted the complete list of figures from the new Mage Knight Lancers set. There’s over 100 new figures listed, and a few have images to view as well. Check out the scorpion rider, and pray your DM doesn’t use it as a drider.

Nazi werewolves…I hate these guys

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Pinnacle has the new cover art for Weird Wars, and they’re showing it to the world. Seems enthusiasm for the game is growing, so new artwork has been commissioned. Looks great from where I’m sitting.

Scarred Lands Needs Stories
Sword and Sorcery Studios has issued an open call for short story submissions to fill the Scarred Lands Anthology. Is your pen mighty enough for Sword and Sorcery? Give it a shot and find out.

Atlas Harps on Mummies

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Coming early this July is the D20 adventure Instrument of Destiny by John Nephew, from Atlas Games. It starts with a festival, goes into the desert, and things get ugly from there. Could the release be set in hopes of riding the tide of The Mummy Returns, perhaps? The adventure will be for character levels 6-8, and will have rules for “hieroglyphic magic.”

Pagan Does Cthulhu for d20

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

That sounds kind of salacious, doesn’t it? Pagan Publishing, the fine folks behind the acclaimed Delta Green supplements for Call of Cthulhu, confirmed earlier this week in a press release (way, way below the fold) that their staff will be writing the WotC-published D20 System version of the Call of Cthulhu basic rulebook. This means that, though none of the award-winning Delta Green world or other supplementary material will be in the core book, great writers like John Tynes will be writing the basic text that re-introduces horror role-playing to the masses. This is a good thing.

Scorpion’s Nest Works With Impressions Advertising

Wednesday, April 11th, 2001

Scorpion’s Nest Tactical Gaming has just announced that Impressions Advertising & Marketing will be working with them to increase exposure of their games, including Terminus 5. With a 422 page master rulebook, the Terminus 5 miniatures and role-playing game covers fog of war, plenty of weapons and vehicles, a detailed timeline, and a unique world history.